Facet Syndrome FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions

At Laser Spine Institute, our medical professionals are happy to answer all types of questions about facet syndrome. Below, you’ll find some of the questions that we are asked most frequently.

Q. What is facet syndrome?

A. Facet syndrome is a condition that affects the facet joints in the spine. Like the other joints of your body, the spine’s facet joints are coated with cartilage that allows the bone surfaces to slide past each other as the joint moves. Cartilage can wear away in a condition known as osteoarthritis, and when it affects the facet joints in particular, it is called facet disease or facet syndrome.

Q. What causes facet syndrome?

A. Although the precise causes of facet syndrome are yet unknown, researchers have noted some risk factors associated with developing the condition. One such factor is aging; osteoarthritis is more common among people who are older than 50 years. Facet syndrome is also connected to traumatic injuries, including those sustained in car accidents or in high-impact sports like football.

Q. What are the symptoms?

A. Facet syndrome can cause a number of symptoms, with the most common being pain localized to the area around the damaged joint. Patients often report dull aching in their necks or backs, and some experience a grinding sensation caused by the rubbing of bone on bone. This continual rubbing can lead to the growth of bone spurs, tiny protrusions that can impinge on neighboring nerves and contribute to radiating pain, weakness or numbness that affects the extremities.

Q. What are some treatment options?

A. In many cases, arthritic issues leading to facet syndrome can be managed by using a combination of conservative treatment methods, including:

  • Over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory and pain medications
  • Behavior modification, such as avoiding heavy lifting and being mindful of posture
  • Physical therapy
  • Corticosteroid injections

Many patients are able to gain control of their symptoms within a few weeks or months of starting such a regimen.

Q. Will I need surgery?

A. There is a small percentage of patients who find that conservative, non-surgical techniques aren’t enough to keep their pain and other symptoms at bay. If you are one of them, Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive spine surgeries might be a suitable option to help you find relief. Contact us today to learn about our procedures and to request a review of your MRI report or CT scan.